You can drive for Uber, deliver groceries or start a blog any time of year, but some of the best and most profitable side hustles come and go in only a few months — and those months are just about here.
Many of the highest-paying summer side gigs involve working outdoors in the hot sun during the season’s long days, but many others have nothing to do with the weather at all.
GOBankingRates talked to experts from a variety of industries to get a feel for the summer side jobs that pay the most money and that most people can do, with earnings estimates for each.
Here are the 10 summer side hustles that can boost your budget for the entire year.
Sling Coffee at Festivals
Before the pandemic, summer was the season of festivals. In 2022, all of those multi-day mass gatherings are finally back on schedule — and they’re filled with people who are willing to pay for a pick-me-up.
“A coffee truck for the festival circuit can be a very lucrative side hustle,” said Oli Baise, founder and managing editor of the coffee blog Drinky Coffee. “During my early 20s, I would rent a food truck and sell coffee out of it at music and art festivals in my county.”
He said he usually pulled in around $20,000 in profit between the months of June and September — but be warned, there are significant start-up costs.
“Although you do need to put down some money to do this — around $4,000 to rent a suitable vehicle for three months plus $1,500 for all the relevant licenses and festival booking fees — if you can stump up this money I am not sure if there is a more lucrative summer side hustle,” said Baise.
Turn Your Power Washer Into Profits
Everyone who owns a pressure washer knows the satisfaction of watching grime disappear in perfect stripes on the deck, sidewalk and driveway as you go — making money while doing it, however, is even more satisfying.
“One of the best summer side hustles going is becoming a professional power washer,” said Kieran MacRae, who blogs about projects and personal improvement. “All you need to get started is the pressure washer, which will cost around $500, then you can charge people $50 per hour to clean up their driveways.”
Just about anyone with a power washer can start making money with almost no other investment or skill.
“Very little technique is involved, but the value you bring is they only have to pay $50 instead of $500 for their own machine,” MacRae said. “A little practice on your own house and maybe a couple of neighbors as a freebie and you’re good to go.”
Help Incoming Freshmen Prepare for College
Many college-bound high school grads have their acceptance letters in hand before the summer even starts — but not all. According to US News and World Report, many colleges now accept applications throughout the summer as the fall semester approaches, and it’s precisely those kids who need the most assistance.
“Helping high schoolers pass their college admissions is a booming side business — and it is one that can take many forms,” said Mila Garcia, finance consultant and co-founder of iPaydayLoans. “For instance, you can offer ACT tutoring, coaching students on sound interview techniques, how to write their admissions essays, how to build an attractive college application, etc. If you can build a reputation for yourself, a profitable business can easily net you upwards of $150 per hour.”
Help Prepare High School Kids as a Tutor
Inbound college students aren’t the only ones who need a little academic help before the fall school year arrives — high school kids need tutors, too.
“Hour for hour, the most profitable side hustle is online tutoring,” said Anna Caldwell, personal finance expert at TopDollar Financial Insights Hub. “Tutors are in high demand during the summer month for standardized test prep, math, science, foreign languages, ESL (English as a second language), music lessons and more. You can work as a freelancer or work for an established tutoring company. Depending on your market and area of expertise, you can make $40 to $150 an hour.”
House-Sit for Summer Travelers
For many people, this is the first summer with a vacation in the works since 2019 or before — and you can cash in by keeping an eye on their houses while they’re gone.
“During the summer months, lots of people head out of town on vacation,” said Emilia Flores, a personal finance coach and the co-founder of UkBadCreditLoans. “And when they do, house sitting is the perfect opportunity for you to make some extra money. On average, you can expect to charge $25 to $75 per day, depending on the size of the home.”
Pet-Sit for Traveling Owners
Just as summer travelers pay people to watch over their homes while they’re gone, they also pay people to watch over the family members that they can’t take with them on their journeys.
“This could be considered a passive side hustle because it doesn’t require strenuous work and would be a treat if you love animals,” said Werner Jorgensen, sales and marketing manager of Heatxperts. “This can serve as your ideal day job, where you can watch someone’s pet for a few hours and earn fairly well. You can get paid up to $14 an hour and would only be required to work on specific days.”
Keep Summer Safe and Fun as a Camp Counselor
Although things rarely end well for them in horror movies, real-life camp counselors can have a lifelong impact on the kids they supervise — and get paid for the pleasure.
“A camp counselor’s primary duty is to supervise campers to provide a fun, healthy and safe summer camp environment,” said Steven Walker, CEO of Spylix. “They are usually responsible for planning and implementing activities and camp programs and providing leadership and development opportunities for campers.”
Walker says the average pay is $12.67 an hour, which a few top salary sites confirm — ZipRecruiter says it’s $10.43 and Indeed quotes hourly camp counselor pay at $14.36, which puts Walker’s estimate right in the middle.
Inform and Entertain as a Tour Guide
If you don’t get anxious speaking to groups, you like people and you have a passion for history and culture, work as a tour guide might just be the ultimate seasonal side hustle.
“A tour guide’s primary duty is to provide information about the history of religious and historical sites, museums and other significant locations to travelers,” said Walker. “They are also responsible for memorizing information, confidently speaking to small and large group sizes and having great interpersonal skills.”
Walker quotes $14.19 as the average per-hour pay, which Payscale backs up almost to the penny. Several salary sites say you can expect to earn tips, as well.
Keep Your Neighborhood’s Yards Trim and Neat
Mowing and yard maintenance has been a classic summer side hustle in virtually every part of the country for generations.
“Mowing grass is something anyone can do but many people hate doing it themselves,” said Smart Money Advice founder Matthew Robbs, who earned $15,000-$20,000 doing this side hustle with his family every summer to help pay for college in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
“This means you can charge a good amount per hour — often 50-100% more than minimum wage — and it won’t have a large amount of start-up costs either since most people already own a lawnmower. You can also expand on mowing grass and do general landscaping work — things like pulling weeds, putting down mulch, trimming bushes, etc.”
Do Your Best ‘Baywatch’ Impression
OK, so you won’t get money rich working as a lifeguard, but you can earn a decent income on the side while gaining lifesaving skills, experience and fitness training that can lend itself to many different future career paths, including first responder jobs. But beware — you might wind up having fun along the way, and that’s a different kind of rich!
“Not only do you get to spend your days swimming and hanging out at the pool or beach, but you can also make a pretty decent wage,” said Luke Lee, co-founder and interior designer of Ever Wallpaper. “In fact, according to some reports, the average hourly pay for a lifeguard is $11. Depending on where you work, you may even be able to snag some cool perks like free passes to the water park or discounts on food and merchandise. Plus, what could be better than spending your summer days in the sun and getting paid for it?”
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